Illegal Review: Piyush Mishra steals the show with his interesting mind games in this poorly made legal drama
Bollywood has witnessed several courtroom dramas over the years. From Meri Jung, Damini to Jolly LLB, Pink, etc, the list might be endless but these legal dramas have always left the audience on the edge of their seats biting their nails and thinking what would happen next. This was the exact impression we had when we saw the trailer of Sahir Raza directorial Illegal. Starring Piyush Sharma, Neha Sharma, Kubbra Sait, Akshay Oberoi and Satyadeep Mishra in the lead, Illegal has been the talk of the town ever since the makers have dropped the trailer.
Needless to say, just like every courtroom drama, the audience was also expecting a complicated case, intriguing storyline, hard-hitting dialogues and repartee between lawyers that would give anyone goosebumps. However, Illegal is not just a courtroom drama, but the show also emphasises on out of the court proceedings which seems to play a key role in the legal drama. But despite an interesting ensemble of cast, Illegal turns out to be a disappointment courtesy lose direction and writing which will leave you with several unanswered questions.
Illegal is a story of a young lawyer Niharika (played by Neha Sharma) who has been a strong believer of truth and didn’t mind risking her career just to serve justice. However, her life takes a drastic turn after she was appointed as an associate of one of country’s best criminal lawyer Janardan Jaitley aka JJ (played by Piyush Mishra). While Niharika is supposed to move to Delhi, destiny has planned an interesting roller coaster ride wherein she will be facing her ugly past all over again with some unexpected challenges.
She has been hired by JJ who is known as the kingpin in the world of law but is instead the lead antagonist of the series. With a spectacular record of winning the cases, JJ is more popular for getting the job done by hook or crook. In fact, apart from his within the court tactics, JJ also has his means to get things done in his favour outside the court. While JJ considers Niharika as a potential lawyer he asks her to fight a pro bono case to fight the case of Meher Salam (played by Kubbra Sait) who has been in the prison for 15 years despite her death sentence. However, in the middle of this intriguing case, JJ tricks her to take the rape case wherein she has been asked to represent the rape accused just because he thinks it will make the case stronger in the eyes of public and media.
And as she is struggling between these two cases, her personal trauma often turns out to be a hindrance for her. In fact, while JJ is often seen planning nasty tricks against Niharika and every person around him to get things his way. In this turmoil, JJ’s arch rival Puneet Tandon (played by Satyadeep Mishra) plays an interesting role in giving a tough fight to this ace lawyer. Struggling between two cases, Illegal has many loose ends and terribly fails to keep the audience intrigued. In fact, you will take some time before you can connect with the story.
Given the concept of the web series, there was certainly more scope when it comes to the treatment. But what went against the series was a poor direction, writing and of course the cliched dialogues. It looks like Illegal was a collaboration of several loosely tied stories and the director paid no attention to the important details while connecting the dots.
Although Illegal showcases the harsh reality of our judicial system, it fails to derive anything from it. Talking about the performances, Neha Sharma, who became a national crush post her movie Crook, seemed to be struggling with her character herself. There was a major lack of connection between the actress and her character.
On the other hand, Piyush Sharma and Satyadeep Mishra turned out to be the star of the series. Piyush, who had earlier played the role of a lawyer in Pink, once again managed to leave a similar impact. As much as you want to hate him, his incredible performance will leave you wanting for more. His brilliant mind games and calm, composed but a sharp mindset is proof that he is indeed the mastermind of Illegal. Besides, Satyadeep’s performance is also a treat for the viewers.
Akshay Oberoi, who plays the role of Niharika’s ex-beau Akshay Jaitley holds up a dull show with merely no scope of performance for him. However, Deepak Tijori emerges as a surprise element in Illegal and his swag will make your hearts drool. Meanwhile, Kubra Sait will also have your heart for her incredible performance of a convicted murder.
Despite the loose storyline and poor execution, you can watch Illegal for Piyush Mishra’s impressive performance. And while the first season has left us with several unanswered questions and a cliff hanging end, we hope the second season comes with better direction and writing.